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Only 1 Black juror seated in trial of Ahmaud Arbery’s accused killers; judge disagrees

Only 1 Black juror seated in trial of Ahmaud Arbery's accused killers; judge disagrees
Ahmaud Arbery (Image source: / @irunwithmaud)

The judge in the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial has agreed to sit a jury with only one African American among 11 other White jurors as the case begins in Brunswick, Georgia. 

Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley said the law has limited his ability to intervene in what he characterized as “intentional discrimination” on behalf of the defense attorneys to remove prospective Black jurors, ABC News reports. 

The defense is comprised of three White men, Greg McMichael, his adult son, Travis McMichael, and their neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan. The three are charged with murder for chasing down Ahmaud Arbery for jogging in their predominantly White neighborhood in this seaside town on Feb. 23, 2020. Bryan videotaped the violent episode as Travis McMichael shot Arbery three times with his shotgun. 

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the probe after a video of the killing was leaked online and there had been no charges filed against the three White men after two months. Soon thereafter, the GBI charged all three men with murder and other crimes.

The racial composition of the jury sparked a prolonged and heated debate between prosecutors and defense attorneys on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, with Judge Walmsley stating: “This court has found there appears to be intentional discrimination in the panel.” 

However, the law limits his ability to reinstate the eight Black jurors who were dismissed by the attorneys for the White defendants because the lawyers were able to provide “race neutral” reasons for eliminating the Black jurors.

“They have been able to explain to the court why besides race those individuals were struck from the panel,” Walmsley added, according to ABC News. 

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